In February 2022 Israel deployed six Israeli drones to successfully destroy hundreds of Iranian drones. It was not until now that Iran retaliated, by striking a Mossad training facility in Erbil, the capital of the KRI (Kurdistan Region of Iraq) with missiles launched from Iranian territory. This obviously represents a drastic escalation but it is notable that the Iranians took their time before retaliating, in apparently carefully weighing their response. This Israeli drone attack is expressive of what can best be described as the Bennett doctrine, the notion that Israel should not merely strike against Iran’s tentacles but also need to strike at the head of the octopus itself. However, despite Israel striking Iranian territory with Israeli drones, the Iranians apparently dared not strike targets in Israeli territory but sufficed with striking a Mossad base in the KRI.
We may in the future see Iranian missiles striking Israeli Aman/Mossad targets not only in the KRI but also in other Israel-aligned jurisdictions such as the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan. What is clear however is that Iran, despite its completely sincerely intended genocidal rhetoric, does profoundly fear Israel and currently does not dare directly strike Israeli territory. Furthermore, Iran always shows restraints and never retaliates for Israeli air strikes against Iranian assets in Syria. What could explain this behavior? 1) First, Iran has a strategy of building up the military strength of itself and its proxies in preparation for an eventual all-out global confrontation with the so-called “Zionist enemy” (including against Israel’s allies worldwide). Iran’s policy is to hold back until then. 2) Second, Iran has a genuine fear of Israeli tactical nuclear weapons which within a short time frame could destroy military bases throughout Iran. 3) Third, the Iranian regime has genuinely evil intentions and does projectively ascribe those to Israel. 4) Fourth, Iran does not publicly admit it but obviously understands that innovative Israel has surprises in store for Iran, something which Tehran no doubt immensely fears. 5) Fifth, the regime is superstitious and believes that Israel engages in so-called “black magic” against Iran.
Aman (Israeli military intelligence) analysts are mistaken when assuming that Israel deters Hezbollah which always acts on “advice” and “requests” from Iran which furthermore funds Hezbollah. Rather, Israel is successful in deterring Iran itself up to a point. The Iranian red line is the very existence of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The Iranian assumption remains that no one will dare to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It is Iranian strategic doctrine to unleash the Khomeinist global apocalypse if the nuclear weapons program is strategically attacked. Therefore, returning to the JCPOA is completely meaningless, because the US will be attacked in any case as will other nations deemed by Tehran to be strategic to the ostensible, global Jewish conspiracy. It is Iranian military doctrine to hold back against Israel until the IRGC unleashes the Khomeinist apocalypse, either PLAN A: until Iran has developed a nuclear weapons arsenal or PLAN B: until Iran’s nuclear weapon’s program is destroyed. Do the Iranians count on the apocalypse to succeed? Not necessarily. They think it has a fair chance of success but are keenly aware that success is not guaranteed. The Iranian assumptions for PLAN B go along the lines of thinking that unleashing a global storm of WMD attacks against “the Zionist conspiracy” will deter a second attack against the Iranian nuclear weapons program a few years later if the Hidden Imam fails to reappear in the first attempted apocalypse.
It cannot be emphasized enough how unique the belief in the self-made apocalypse is to Khomeinist Jihadism/Islamism. This does not appear in other forms of Jihadism/Islamism, let alone in Islam itself. Israel would be particularly well-advised to as much as possible take advantage of this pre-apocalyptic Iranian doctrinal restraint and move to optimally and under the radar degrade the military capabilities of Iran and its proxies as awaiting an all-out confrontation.